Bones of Contention

Teddy Award ~ Best Documentary Film
Berlin International Film Festival
This chilling documentary revisits the fate of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, executed in 1936, and of others who are known only to their families.


Bones of Contention

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BONES OF CONTENTION is the first nonfiction feature film to explore the theme of historical memory in Spain, focusing on the repression of lesbians and gays under Franquismo. Lining the roads of Spain, masked by miles and miles of pine trees, are unmarked graves in which over a hundred twenty thousand victims of the Franco regime are buried. Today the families of the desaparecidos lead a grassroots effort to uncover and identify the bones of their loved ones, despite opposition from the Spanish government.

Invisible to the eye but hyper-visible in the mind, these mass graves of Spain's missing persons are an apt metaphor for the historical memory conundrum. How does a country excavate a past that is actively suppressed?

The film weaves together two strands, the historical memory movement's campaign to uncover the past, and the search for the hidden lives of lesbians and gays under Franco. These strands are connected through the figure of Spain's most famous poet, Federico Garcia Lorca, who was killed by a right-wing firing squad in the first few weeks of the Spanish Civil War. The mystery of his missing remains and the debates over their significance provide the narrative spine of the documentary, as he has become the symbol today for both the historical memory movement and the LGBT movement.

The film features interviews with:

Laura Garcia Lorca, President, Garcia Lorca Foundation

Emilio Silva, Founder, Asociacion para la Recuperacion de la Memoria Historica

Antoni Ruiz and Silvia Reyes, imprisoned by the Franco regime due to their sexuality

Isabel Franc and Empar Pineda, lesbian witnesses and activists

Fernando Valverde, poet and Lorca scholar

"This chilling documentary revisits the fate of the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, executed in 1936, and of others who are known only to their families."—Screen International

"Andrea Weiss' sensitive film gives a voice to the victims from the LGBTIQ community ... Impressive archive material documents this repressed history which finds a painful echo in Lorca's poetry and music."—SydneysBuzz

"Clear and concise!"—Dirty Movies

World Premiere, 2017 Berlin International Film Festival
2017 Frameline San Francisco LGBT Film Festival
2017 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival
2017 Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival
2017 Reeling Chicago LGBT Film Festival
Not Rated
Culture Vulture, Documentary, Politics & World Affairs, History, LGBT
English, Spanish
Andrea Weiss
Winner, Teddy Award ~ Best Documentary Film, Berlin International Film Festival
Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader

This documentary about the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender victims of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco asks a vital question: How can a country excavate a past that has been so deeply buried? Director Andrea Weiss tracks the journey of a modern grassroots movement dedicated to unearthing ...

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